GW2 Beta - third day impressions I leveled up a human guardian up to about 13. Then spent the next few hours taking a jaunt through Lion's Arch (discovering all the waypoints and points of interest there boosted her up to level 14). Then, I took her over to the Norn area and did a bit of run-through, which took her up to about level 15. At that point, in the middle of a frustrating/bugged dynamic event, I decided to call it a day. I think I'm coming down with gaming fatigue due to all the time I spent playing this weekend. I do have some pictures, mostly from Lion's Arch, but I'll need to sort them and upload them in batches, so maybe tomorrow.
First of all, the Guardian class - I have to say, I'm loving it even more than the engineer. Maybe it's cuz I generally do well on casters. And obviously, I play the character caster-style, since I don't like melee in principle, AND the game right now seems to favor ranged classes than melee anyway (another reviewer had noted this back in the Press Beta and it hasn't changed). I eventually settled on a scepter/shield and scepter/focus setup. Staff is also good, but it's slots 4 & 5 have much longer recharges than the 4/5 skills of the shield & focus. Scepter/torch is also another good possibility. These bars all have some form of AoE, and some form of protection, which is a great balance.
Also loving the underwater skills on the trident for the guardian. It...kicks butt, so to speak. Seems to be much better than the underwater skillset the engineer had. Also, I found that the right side of the skill bar for underwater is actually separately saved from the normal bar as well. So if you configure it one way on land and a different way underwater, the bar will automatically change to those settings when you go into or leave the water. This is nice if you want to use skills that can't be used underwater (like flamethrower for engineer or the spirit weapons for guardian); simply replace the slot with another applicable skill underwater and you're set.
Since the guardian gets to wear heavy armor, you also get extra protection from there as well. A caster with heavy armor, basically - the best of both worlds. I definitely felt that as I played through the storyline, I had much better survivability than the ranger and the engineer. I also noticed that I was more often able to rally on the guardian after I'd been downed, whereas on the engineer I often got defeated before I could rally. Not sure if this is because I did more damage before going down as guardian, or because the downed skills do more damage, but I suspect it might be both.
As for the race comparison, it does seem to follow from what I noticed yesterday. The human areas/quests/etc. are in general more numerous polished than the charr ones (which are in turn better than the norn ones). In between the same levels 1-11, I was able to pretty much breeze through more personal story quests than on the charr - by "breeze through" I don't mean the quests were really easy; they were a decent challenge that required me to pay attention. But they were also more interesting, and I was certainly more engaged/immersed in it than I was with the charr story (which I often just sat there and wondered if it's done yet). I don't know, maybe it's cuz the personal story takes place in one's homeland, and the charr homeland overall is kinda bleh. But I still think they put more effort in characterizing the human characters/cutscenes than the charr ones.
Then, at the end, when I took my level 14 guardian into the Norn 10-13 area, it was a struggle. Fights took longer (WTF with the lvl 11 hard to kill murderous verteran rats in the waypoint forts, man?) and I struggled through will less health and more deaths. It was...not fun anymore in the kind of way that the mobs seem to cater more to the hardcore crowd (lots of situational awareness and emergency dodging required, etc).
And then some idiot pulled a level 19 boss mob from another dynamic event into the fort that contained the level 13 rez waypoint. It stayed there, and kept killing all the NPCs and any players that were unfortunately enough to wander through. No amount of luring could get it to leave, and when there finally amassed a giant mob of players to take it down (there must've been like 30 people there; the lag got kinda ridiculous) it immediately respawned right inside the fort again. I filed an in game bug report and an entry on the forums.
In general this kinda gives me the impression that the norn areas are much less "done" than the human/charr ones. I have to hope they are still working to adjust it and add intermediate stuff in there. Because right now, it feels woefully underdeveloped compared to the human homeland. It also makes me kinda nervous about the state of the asura and sylvari areas, and how they're going to turn out. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope they are at least closer to the charr homeland in terms of quest density and difficulty, and less like norn.
One more note - Lion's Arch is very nice. Pretty much the same quality as Divinity's Reach. Some very cool underwater areas as well and neat nooks and crannies. I'll try to put up the images when I get the chance.
I originally had plans to see what the stuff I'd collected on all 3 chars could craft, as well as trying out the ele. But obvious I'm out of time. So that's probably going to wait til the next beta weekend.